Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Preparing Port Hull for Foredeck Installation

With the starboard hull upside down and now protected from moisture and humidity with a coat of epoxy on all the exterior surfaces, I turned my attention back to the port hull, as I want to get the foredeck on and then work my way aft to the cabin sides and stern deck. The starboard hull is going to require lots of filling, shaping and fairing in preparation for fiberglassing - all monotonous hard work, so this port deck and interior work was a nice break from that.

Today I broke out the primer for the first time on the project, having finally gotten a least a couple areas ready to be primed and painted. You can see the forward buoyancy compartment here, with the first coat of primer on it. It's not necessary to paint inside here, and many Tiki builders do not, but I wanted a bright white interior in here so that a flashlight shined through the inspection port can reveal the condition of this inaccessible area. This is also important for clearing customs in some areas where officials looking for contraband might want to cut their own inspection holes if they can't see inside a sealed area. I'll have this area packed with sealed, empty plastic water bottles for extra floatation in the event of a holing, but these will be clear and the white interior should reflect enough light back to reveal that the bottles are all that's inside.

Note the inspection hatch opening that has been moved up closer to the deckbeam on the forward bulkhead.

This photo below shows the original location of this inspection port opening. This is the location shown on the plans and it was cut when I first cut out all the bulkheads and other hull parts. I moved it because I wanted to add the lifting partition panels you can see below at the level of the lower hullside stringer. This large area aft of the bulkhead is the forward bow hold, a storage area accessible only through a deck hatch. It is a huge, deep compartment with no division whatsoever on the plans. I decided it would be more useful to divide it with these panels, which form a shallow compartment high in the hold for lightweight items needed on deck like fenders and extra line. The partition is designed in three parts, with the forward two removable so that the large bottom area can be accessed through the deck hatch as well, and larger items stashed down there.

Moving a 6-inch hole in a bulkhead is no big deal with epoxy construction techniques. I first used the hole itself to trace a pattern for a plug on a piece of scrap 6mm ply. Then, using a few drops of the B.S.I. Super Glue that continues to prove so handy, I glued three temporary blocks on the forward side of the bulkhead to hold the plug, and then glued the plug to the part of the blocks overlapping the hole.

Working from the other side of the bulkhead, I filled in the gaps between the plug and the edges of the hole be forcing thickened epoxy in with a putty knife. When this cured, the temporary blocks were knocked off the other side with a hammer, and both sides were sanded, filled completely and sanded again until fair. A layer of 6oz. fiberglass cloth was laminated on the forward side to reinforce the plug. The new, higher hole was then marked and cut.

Here is a view into this storage compartment, showing the one part of the partition that has been permanently epoxied into place. The other two interlock and rest on the hull stringers and the ledgers on the forward edge of this part and on the aft edge of the bulkhead. Note the re-positioned opening for the inspection port - there is now enough clearance room above the partition for the flange of of the plastic port. The first coat of primer has been applied in the lower part of this compartment as well. All of the interior of the hold will be painted white.

The other project yesterday was cutting and fitting the foredeck for the port hull. Here is the complete deck, with the forward hatch opening cut and the longitudinal stringers glued and filleted in place on the underside. When the paint work is completed in the two forward compartments, this deck can be installed.

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